Festival of Instrumental Music

Years 3 to 6 students and teachers

The Festival of Instrumental Music (FoIM) presents 4 concerts of diverse repertoire, as well as some specially commissioned works by Australian composers, in the Sydney Opera House. School recorder and string ensembles comprising students from Years 3 to 6 will join together to form the combined recorder and string ensembles. As well as their individual pieces, these 2 ensembles will perform a combined item to conclude the concerts.

Teachers access quality professional learning and repertoire to support their recorder and string ensembles.



    Applications open Monday 17 October 2022 and close Friday 2 December 2022

    • Performance dates – Tuesday 13 June to Friday 16 June 2023 (Term 2 Week 8)
    • Teachers recorder workshop – Wednesday 15 February 2023, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm (Term 1 Week 3)
    • Teachers strings workshop – Thursday 16 February 2023, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm (Term 1 Week 3)
    • Rehearsals at Salvation Army Congress Hall or Meadowbank PS – Monday 15 to Thursday 18 May 2023, 9:30 am - 1:00 pm (Term 2 Week 4)

    Please be aware that this Festival will be contingent on advice provided by the Department of Education in consultation with NSW Health, and can change at short notice.

    Department of Education latest information on COVID-19 advice.

    Applications open

     Monday 17 October 2022 (Term 4 Week 2).

    2023 concert dates at the Sydney Opera House 

    • Acacia Concert: Tuesday 13 June 2023, 7 pm
    • Banksia Concert: Wednesday 14 June 2023, 7 pm 
    • Jacaranda Concert: Thursday 15 June 2023, 7 pm
    • Mimosa Concert: Friday 16 June 2023, 7 pm

    How to apply

    • Applications for the Festival of Instrumental Music 2023 open on Monday 17 October 2022

    To apply for the Festival of Instrument Music 2023 please complete the relevant online application form.

    There will be no audition required for the combined recorder and string ensembles in 2023.

    • All public schools that apply will be accepted.
    • A maximum of 30 students per school will be considered, although this number may be capped/reduced depending on how many schools apply.
    • If you wish to nominate more than 30 students from your school, you will be able to indicate this on the application form.

    Combined Recorder and Combined String Repertoire

    The 2023 repertoire includes especially selected and arranged works from a variety of genres for the recorder and string ensembles. In 2023, two pieces commissioned from Australian composers will be performed on the stage of the magnificent Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House.

    Music for the Combined Recorder Ensemble is written for Descant 1, Descant 2, Treble, Tenor and Bass parts. Teachers should only nominate their students for the Descant 2 part if they are beginner players. Experienced players should be nominated to the more advanced Descant 1, and/or treble, tenor or bass parts. Teachers are encouraged to discuss their recorder ensemble’s circumstances with Susan Sukkar - Arts Coordination Officer, The Arts Unit: (M) 0430299221 or email: Susan.Sukkar@det.nsw.edu.au

    Music for the Combined Strings Ensemble is at approximately a Grade 2 - 2.5 ensemble standard. As a guide, students nominated for the Sydney Opera House concert should be at a minimum of AMEB Grade 1 level and should be able to play with all fingers in flat and sharp positions. The Violin 1 part also includes some sections in 3rd position.

    The Ensemble is made up of 6 sections: Violin 1, Violin 2, Violin 3 (Viola treble clef), Viola, Cello and Double Bass. Schools are encouraged to nominate a balanced ensemble in order to give their students the optimum experience, especially during school-based rehearsals, wherever possible.


    Recorder Preliminary rehearsals at the Salvation Army Congress Hall - mandatory (metropolitan schools only)

    • Acacia rehearsal: Monday 15 May 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
    • Banksia rehearsal: Tuesday 16 May 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
    • Jacaranda rehearsal: Wednesday 17 May 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
    • Mimosa rehearsal: Thursday 18 May 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 

    String Preliminary rehearsals at Meadowbank Public School - mandatory (metropolitan schools only)

    • Acacia rehearsal: Monday 15 May 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
    • Banksia rehearsal: Tuesday 16 May 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
    • Jacaranda rehearsal: Wednesday 17 May 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
    • Mimosa rehearsal: Thursday 18 May 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 

    Cluster rehearsals (non-metropolitan schools only)

    • Non-metropolitan schools are strongly encouraged to host or attend a 4-hour cluster rehearsal with other nearby participating schools (if possible) during Term 2, as negotiated with Susan Sukkar and Luke Wallace.


    • Participation fee of $37.00 per student will be payable upon acceptance into the program.   
    • A rural and remote subsidy of $27.75 will be offered to all students attending from rural and remote schools as identified by the Department.
    • In the event of a COVID-19 related withdrawal from the festival performance, schools will be refunded 50% of the participation fee paid.

    Professional learning and resources

    It is mandatory that at least one teacher from each participating school attend the teachers professional development workshop:

    • Festival of Instrumental Music – Recorders - teachers’ professional development workshop - Wednesday 15 February 2023, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm 
    • Festival of Instrumental Music – Strings - teachers’ professional development workshop - Thursday 16 February 2023, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm 

    All public school teachers are welcome to attend either (or both) of these workshops. Please register by Friday 3 February 2023 to receive your copy of the 2023 Festival of Instrumental Music (FoIM) repertoire.

    A range of online repertoire resources will become available upon registration.

    Each participating school (teacher) will receive a 2023 Festival of Instrumental Music repertoire book (recorders and/or strings) from which to make copies for their participating students.

    Each participating student and teacher will receive a specially designed T-shirt to wear at the performance.

    Individual school instrumental and vocal items

    In 2023 performance opportunities are available for outstanding individual school instrumental and vocal items at the Festival of Instrumental Music, Festival of Choral Music and Primary Proms. These opportunities are open to all public school students (Years K to 12) and can include music ensembles of all sizes, large or small – including soloists and choirs. Application by video audition. Applications open Monday 6 March and close on Monday 24 April 2023.


    For further information concerning the Festival of Instrumental Music 2023 please contact Susan Sukkar- Arts Coordination Officer at The Arts Unit:  (M) 0430 299 221 or email Susan.Sukkar@det.nsw.edu.au or concerts.artsunit@det.nsw.edu.au


    Music Festivals
    The Arts Unit
    Susan Sukkar
    Arts Coordination Officer
    The Arts Unit
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